Underscoring the need for judicious development of appropriate process technologies, Mukherjee said it will pave the way for economic benefits to accrue to farmers and small entrepreneurs dealing with these fibres."
Kolkata, Aug 1 - Calling for a concerted effort by all stakeholders to develop the jute sector, President Praanb Mukherjee Friday said the role of jute and allied fibres needed to be evaluated in a changing world economic and environmental scenario.
Unfortunately, there has been a lack of growth orientation in the jute industry during the last few decades. In the face of stiff competition from substitutes, mainly synthetics, it has gradually lost its prime position as a packaging material, the president said.
Inaugurating the international conference on natural fibres, marking the end of the platinum jubilee celebrations of the National Institute of Research on Jute and Allied Fibre Technology (NIR-JAFT), Mukherjee said a host of reasons have led to the disquieting trends in this industry.
He termed the absence of up-gradation and modernization, over dependence on government's order for mandatory use of sacking bag, as also stagnant productivity levels among the causes for the decline of the industry.
In a changing world economic and environmental scenario, there is a need to evaluate the role of jute and allied fibres. A concerted effort by all stakeholders is necessary to develop the jute sector, he said.
The president said serious attempts should be made to transform the image of jute objects from cheap packaging material to value-added products suitable for diversified end-uses.
The global concern for environment and increasing consumer preference for bio-degradable natural fibre products have opened a window of opportunity for enhanced use of jute. To realise this potential, technical capabilities have to be boosted through greater investment, technological up-gradation, market promotion and facilitatory government role.
India is now the largest producer of raw jute fibres and jute products in the world. Industrial production of jute goods comprises mainly packaging materials, sacking and hessian, which account for 82 percent of the total production.
Mukherjee said the National Fibre Policy 2010 aims at transforming the jute sector from a traditional labour-intensive industry to a self-reliant modern industry with state-of-the-art technology and wider product range.
The Jute Technology Mission is expected to help the growth of jute-diversified products, especially in the export market.
The president said jute agriculture in general and post-harvest technology in particular needs special attention in terms of technology support and extension activities.
Improvement in fibre yield, and production of fine fibre with improved strength, colour and lustre and devoid of defects that arise on account of faulty retting, will ensure remunerative return to the jute farmers, he added.
Underscoring the need for judicious development of appropriate process technologies, Mukherjee said it will pave the way for economic benefits to accrue to farmers and small entrepreneurs dealing with these fibres.
There is need for sharing of knowledge and experience about different natural fibres and their products.